A cold wind and light rain made conditions less than ideal.
An up-and-down first three weeks of the season made expectations cloudy.
Yet none of that stood in the way of the St. Albert boys tennis team winning what is believed to be its first city championship in school history.
The Falcons claimed singles titles at No. 1 (sophomore Reed Miller), No. 4 (senior Christian Baer) and No. 5 (freshman Sam Narmi) and doubles titles at No. 1 (Miller and senior Cooper Bowman) and No. 3 (Baer and Narmi). They defeated Abraham Lincoln by a margin of 15-19.
Team scores are compiled by adding the final placing of each singles and doubles result. The lowest score wins.
âEvery day, we just get a little bit better,â St. Albert coach Doug Stuva said. âWe work over two hours a night. These guys, none of them ever dreamt theyâd be tennis players. Most of them donât play any other sports, but the older ones have been out now for three or four years. Theyâve gotten to be pretty darn good tennis players.â
St. Albert suspended boys tennis at St. Albert in the late 1980s, and the sport didnât return until eight years ago. Stuva said it is believed to be the first time ever that a Falcon tennis team can call itself city champion.
âIt feels fantastic,â Stuva said. âMost of our guys probably played the best theyâve ever played. It all came together on this one day.â
That assessment was especially true for Miller. He earned three 8-1 victories to claim the singles crown. He and Bowman then came back later in the afternoon and continued some of their better play of the season.
Miller said things started falling into place for the duo Monday night during a dual against Denison-Schleswig.
âAt the end of that match, something just clicked, and me and Cooper just started playing very well together,â Miller said. âWe blend well together, and it just carried over to today.â
Miller finished second at No. 2 singles at this meet last year as a freshman, when the Falcons finished third in the team standings. He took over the No. 1 spot after his brother Travis graduated last year.
Much of the Falconsâ scoring in past years came from Travis Miller.
But Reed Millerâs growth, along with that of seniors like Baer, Bowman, Justin Choi and Trevor Rhedin, made Tuesdayâs victory possible.
âYouâve got to understand, for the last couple years the only matches weâve won in duals have been matches that involved Travis Miller,â Stuva said. âHe won his, and then we lost all the rest. These guys arenât tennis players, and theyâre just now becoming tennis players.
âWeâve actually had a pretty good season, but they certainly seemed to believe in themselves today.â
A.L. had been city champions eight of the last nine…